tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 15, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EST
what's most surprised you, what most concerns you. and, you know, my answer's probably going to be you've got to read the book pause that's -- because that's what we're going to try to outline. >> your biographer is here, what's it like to be written about? >> i don't know. i'll tell you when i read it. >> senator, a question i ask at every playbook breakfast is the people in the audience who want to be you, what do you do to succeed in washington? [laughter] if i'm one of these young interns, what to i do to be successful? >> it depends what you want to be. you can cover it, you can run campaigns, you can work in an office, you can run for office. they're all choices, they come with consequences, you know, i got involved as an intern in the congressional office in 1991, and that's how i got involved, and from there i, you know, kind of ran for city commission and then ran to the florida house, and it just developed from there. there's different ways of
looking at it. one of the people i really admire is jeb bush, and his advice always was -- which i never took -- was, wait, go into business, be successful, and then go into politics. i kind of did it the other way. there are benefits and consequences. i think the benefits of being involved early on is a certain idealism and drive that maybe life starts to wear on you. that doesn't mean you can't be idealistic at 60, and you should be. but certainly i think, you know, time develops people in that way. ..
>> what about the scrutiny? you've done some -- >> so? how does, someone doesn't like in american politics and you write an ugly article about you, if someone doesn't like in some countries around the world, they like decapitate you or blow up your car it's painful. it must be. >> ultimate it's part of the do. ultimately, when you sign up for it comes with all these things and this is one of them. you wanted to be fair, accurate but ultimately it's part of the do. i don't have to do this. there's other things i could do with my life and my time. but i want to do this. i want to make a difference. that's the price of admission to this stage and i'm blessed to be
on a. i think at the end of the day people are smart, they will make decisions based on what is wise. >> we are getting the hook. as we say goodbye, is it true you like rap? >> yeah, probably the stuff in the '90s. i get in trouble when i talk about that although that because maybe i shouldn't listen to that anymore. the music is good. so i will try what i've developed over the summer, a little, because now you asked who my favorite artist is and all that, my wife like country music. so i've listen to it. it's good. it's all right. i can listen, so what i don't listen to his classical music. i will probably get to that .1 day i suppose but it sounds really good. >> you will get their. >> but i do like a lot of the modern music stuff. got to sometimes ignore what politics may be and enjoy the
music spent you said they get you in trouble. why? >> some of the lyrics. should you be listening to that? i probably shouldn't, i guess. certainly my kids won't be listening to it. [laughter] but if i limited, i limit my music to conservative, you know, artists, haven't had a lot to listen to. there are artist, i listen to the music that not to the politics i guess. >> we ought to pressure to the people on live streams are watching but we are appreciative to our boss who is here, bank of america for making these conversations possible. you, for coming out so early, and senator lugar, thank you. we really appreciate it. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> praise silence, the right honorable lord mayor. [applause] [applause] >> my late lord mayor, your grace, my lord chancellor, prime minister, mr. speaker, your excellencies, my lords, alderman, sheriffs, chief commissioner, ladies and gentlemen. it has been quite a weekend. very early on saturday i saw a sign of things to come, a roadside on london bridge which
read beware, avoid the city. [laughter] , that was advice i thought it best this lord mayor did not take. welcome to you all from power to sheriffs, as well as the lady mayors in the, to guildhall. i'm -- a very special welcome to you, prime minister, for this, your second lord mayor frank what. much has happened since you spoke of britain's place in the world last year. a year of extraordinary change and challenge of the country, for the world, and for the city. as you said last week, this is an alarming time for the global economy. the situation in the eurozone creates new difficulties for our own economy and the u.k. and the
city must play their parts in meeting these challenges. prime minister, i applaud your focus on the potential of the emerging economies for british export, markets, i will visit over the next year, promoting british business. my second duty is to congratulate the late lord mayor, michael, on the of great progress and achievement. he has given a sharper business focus to a demanding round of overseas visits, and increasingly important part. looking for high-value opportunities for british business, opportunities not just for financial services, but for industry as well. he has been an imaginative champion of the city from legals to leeds, made the case for the city's role in creating jobs and growth and the wider economy
with a passion for a lifetime's experience of business. in all this he has been supported by his wife barbara who has carried out her own duties with charm, energy, and artistic flair. tonight, we honor a fine mayoralty, and concho lake michael bear on a job very well done. [applause] the late lord mayor always set out a positive vision for the city i share that vision. as the procession passed me on saturday, i realize the great strength of the city's own vibrant and diverse community. it may be the lord mayor show,
but it was not me. i was just one person making his own contribution alongside the many thousands in the show from the very young to the very old from some of our great olympians to the smallest charities. this army of volunteers gave generously of their time, energy and expertise, and came together to create a fantastic spectacle. i was just one person along side more than half a million who throng to the city streets. everyone at the show on saturday is part of the city and part of the city community. prime minister, we're enemies of a public debate about the structure of our economy and the distribution of its benefits and burdens. this debate includes but is not just about the city, what it is
for, howitzers london, the wider economy and our communities. and about how it supports jobs and growth. i welcome that debate because as lord mayor, i had a unique opportunity to shine a light on these issues. complex problems appear to have simple and easy to understand solutions which are usually wrong. rather, we must see what works in the interests of all. prime minister, the cd will be this service. it has a vital role to play in creating a better future. we will support the government in creating jobs and growth in britain, in europe, and across the world. my mayoralty will contribute to
that future which is why it will be called fit for the future. the city must be fit for the future. a city must be trusted and valued, so where we have got things wrong, we will put them right, and see that we put them right. and i also want to see the cities important connections and contribution recognized and renewed. so i will highlight the city's importance as an economic force. we need to do far more to communicate that importance to the prosperity of the u.k. as a whole. in creating and supporting economic growth and in providing stable and secure jobs, not just for the more than 1 million people working in financial services across the country, but through its connections to billions more.
i will highlight the connections and contribution of the city's economic footprint. because for every job created in financial services, at least one more is created elsewhere. and its importance in helping to build the architecture of our everyday lives, by providing the product that helps us by our homes, ensure our treasured possessions, and by investing to give his pensions in our retirement. i will reaffirm the city's connection with britain's manufacturing base, something which resonates deeply with me as a yorkshireman from the heart of our textile industry. but from strong connections with pottery. and i'm delighted as well as the lord mayor of westminster we have with us tonight the lord mayor's of bradford, my hometown, and trent where my father comes from.
i will changing the crucial role manufacturing has to play on britain's manufacturing industry provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and makes product prize for the enterprise, innovation and quality the world over. i will highlight the city support for our high-tech industries, concentrated near the city as tech city stretches from shortage to stratford. we must strengthen our connection and investment in these industries, especially by increasing the number of business angles supporting these cutting edge enterprises. new connections for new industries. i will deepen the city's connections as the world's leading mobile financial center. uniquely competitive and uniquely equipped with the skills and expertise to meet the
challenge for the emerging economies. in high quality services we provide, not least in my own legal services industry, and in the infrastructure we offer, a very physical connection. and in the cities extraordinary the first people with connections across different industries, different sectors, and across the world. i want to deepen the thousands of personal connections between the city and those on the margins of our communities. expanding horizons, supporting people when they are most in need of a hand, and strengthening our connections with the wider community in practical personal ways. through schemes which operate opportunities for young people by providing training in city firms or which widen access of bright young people from our neighboring boroughs. or by creating partnerships in city firms and local schools,
such as the initiative by my own firm inspiring art programs, works with students who have produced fantastic murals, some of which featured in saturday's show. and may i draw your attention to exhibit a. this t-shirt created by the students themselves. only my duties as lord mayor stop the me wearing it tonight. [laughter] [applause] i will also say that with connections of contributions made by the civics, through the own charitable arm, the city trust which over the last decade
has given over a quarter of a million pounds to help meet the needs of londoners to help them realize their potential. and we are at the vanguard of developing the market of social investment on which we will be working with the cabinet office. new forms of finance for new forms of enterprise, new connections. also through literary companies and the whole network of churches, clubs and charities across the square mile which do such marvelous work for londoners and the nation. they use their expertise, goodwill, and money to support schools, colleges, awarded schemes, and new apprenticeships. the bedrock of our communities. like the support mine -- gives two british archers, or the 216 affiliations of the livery
companies have forged with reservists, cadet units, and our bachelors armed forces building up links, supporting the young men and women to whom we oh so much. or the academy opened only two months ago sponsor to a connection in one of our oldest and one of our youngest livery companies. this is an investment in our future. rooted in the great traditions of the city's past. and one which will help us meet new challenges. i am immensely proud of the exciting new venture, but goldsmith said to them visited. and just as bought it will open during my mayoralty. it will be a center for excellence, rejuvenating jewelry, silver and gold for many years to come. this is priceless, and one of a
very special connection to me because my parents met as students at the goldsmith college. my own appeal will help us be fit for the future in a very literal sense. it is a privilege to be an olympic lord mayor, although my chances of a gold matter are at last now slim. but i want to help people across london, and across the whole country, to be energized and inspired by this great event. that is why my appeal will support better medical facilities for those who need top class and immediate medical attention through the trauma center of our local general hospital, the royal london. better health opportunities through charities, london youth and the foundation because rowling has been a passion of mine since i was a teenager and
i want others to enjoy it as much as i do. better lives and better opportunities for children the world over through futures for kids. better access to open spaces at sporting facilities through fields and trust which is committed to securing the future of 2012 outdoor spaces, wonderful permanent legacy for london 2012, and her majesty. and what a privilege it is to serve as lord mayor in such a very special year, the diamond jubilee of her majesty, the queen. a life of duty and dignity of service and goodness connecting the ancient institution of the monarchy, the demands of an ever-changing world. we all owe her majesty a huge debt of gratitude. [applause] [applause]
>> a man who we will celebrate in 2012 is charles dickens. now, respectfully disagrees with the dickens view that if there were no bad people, they would be no good lawyers. [laughter] but one of his central themes is connection between every member and every level of society. especially the responsibility of the haves to the have-nots. his message is just as important today, times have changed. but we in the city know our responsibilities and our vital connections to industry, to those in need, and to our nation. we cherish this role, and i as
♪ >> praise silence for the prime minister. [applause] >> my lord mayor, my late lord mayor, your grace, my lord chancellor, mr. speaker, your excellencies, my lords, aldermen, sheriffs, chief commissioner, ladies and gentlemen first of all, thank you for this opportunity to dress up as if we were -- now that our sunday nights are so empty, this is a pleasure, although i felt in my own circumstances i rather needed mister bates to help me out
here. [laughter] can i wish you well with your year ahead as lord mayor, and the travel that you inevitably will do for our country right across the globe. i've had a year of interesting travel myself. one of the highlights was going to australia to the commonwealth, heads of government meeting, and chairing a meeting of all the countries who have the queen as their head of state where we agreed in a historic agreement that if the duke and duchess of cambridge have a little girl, batgirl will be our queen. at the end of this meeting i turned to the austrian premise and said thank you very much, judy, for allowing us to have this meeting in australia and she said, i can't quite do the accent but i'll try, not a bit, david. this is good news for she is everywhere. [laughter] [applause]
last year i spoke about focusing our foreign policy on one objective, promoting britain's national interest. tonight i want to explain why that means a strong and open approach to the world, one that both helps us and helps others. there are those who look at the upheavals in north africa, or the crisis in the euro zone, and conclude that for britain the best way forward is to draw back. stay out of libya because nothing good ever comes from such interventions. cut the aid budget because the money is always wasted. europe is heading in the wrong direction without any chance of reform, so think of giving up. promoting trade with economic powers like russia or china always means walking away from the values we believe in, so
don't. i think those arguments are fundamentally wrong for three reasons. first, they fail to appreciate that in today's world, others problems are our problems, too. second, they forget that our strength as a country is built on our economic strength, and that means engaging in the world economy, fighting for free trade, making sure british interests get heard. third, we have advantages that we should make the most of, like one of the most open economies in the world, or our brilliant armed forces, whose sacrifice and service we rightly commemorated a game this weekend. so tonight i want to explain how we can use our influence and confront the pessimism that claims we cannot make a difference. the arab spring is one of those extraordinary moments when the will of the people changes the
world. but it also directly matters to us. yes, change brings risk, and no one expects a simple straight line progression from dictatorship and stagnation to democracy and prosperity. but in the long-term, developing the building blocks of democracy is the best way for the arab world to secure stability, progress and prosperity, which is in all our interests here in libya, it is true, we didn't have to get involved. some told us we shouldn't because they said it could only end in failure. some said we couldn't because they said britain didn't have the military might anymore. well, to those who predicted failure, look at what we have achieved. we save civilian lives as gadhafi's tanks bore down on benghazi. we helped the libyan people to
liberate themselves. and we now have the prospect of a new partner in the southern mediterranean, stronger alliances with our friends in the gulf, and a refreshed defense relationship with france. i would argue that our action helped keep the arab spring alive. and it's also worth noting that although coffee agreed to declare and dismantle all his weapons of mass destruction, and although we made real progress diminishing the threats he posed, in the last few days we have learned that the new libyan authorities have found chemical weapons that were kept hidden from the world. some will look at libya and ask, is this a new british doctrine for intervention? next time, will we just charging regardless? my answer is no. look at the reasons for the success of the libya campaign. we sat limited goals and we
stuck to them. we worked with allies. we went through the united nations. we had the support of the people. we didn't presume to tell the people what sort of government they should have. but we held our nerve when critics here said we should give up. we should be grateful for the incredible skill of the british and other coalition pilots who ensured that the number of civilian casualties of the air attacks was so low. the role of the arab league was crucial to and on that note we should welcome their decision this weekend to suspend series of membership. to those who said britain didn't have the resources to intervene in libya, let me just say this, we deployed eight-the libya. we've got 72, with more on the way. we deployed 16 of 136 tornadoes, and five of our 67 attack
helicopters. this operation was well within our capabilities, and will remain so. and to those who question the strategic defense and security review, let me tell you, those of us responsible for it didn't spend a single day of the libya campaign wishing we had taken things more slowly. on the contrary, libya underlined the need for us to reshape our armed forces as rapidly as possible. fewer main battle tanks, more drones, more helicopters, more transport aircraft. we are going to need a different kind of military to meet different kinds of threats. deployment of the military brings me directly to afghanistan. 10 years after 9/11, and after 385 of our servicemen and women have given their lives, the whole country wants to know the answers to two questions. why are we still in afghanistan? and for how much longer?
let me answer. we are there to prevent afghanistan from ever again being used as a base from which to launch attacks on this country or our allies. and, of course, people say you cannot make progress in afghanistan without tackling terrorism and the deep-seated problems in pakistan. and they are right. that is why we are squeezing the problem of terrorism from both sides of the durand line. and al qaeda has been streets and weekend with the death of bin laden and so many of its senior leadership in the tribal belt of pakistan. terrorism feeds on broken countries, so our response must go far beyond tackling the leadership of terrorist groups. that is why pakistan is set to become the biggest recipient of british aid. it is also why we have been engaging at every level, not just politicians but security and military chiefs as well.
we are now reaching the point when the afghans can secure their own country for themselves. that is why i have been very clear, and i repeat here tonight, by the end of 2014 there will be no british troops serving in afghanistan in a combat role. somalia is a failed state that directly threatens, affects an threatens british interests. tourists and aid workers are kidnapped. young british minds poisoned by radicalism. mass migration, vital trade routes disrupted. meanwhile, somalis themselves suffer extreme famine, made worse by violence and some of the worst policy -- poverty on earth. we shouldn't tolerate this. somali pirates are not invincible. they are violent and lawless men in small boats and it is time we properly stood up to them. that is why british vessels can
now carry arms. but there is a real and pressing need to pull together the international effort. that is why britain will host a major conference in london next year, to focus attention on protecting merchant ships passing through the gulf of aden, tackling pirates, pressurizing the extremists, supporting countries in the region, and addressing the causes of conflict and instability in somalia. the next area where the pessimists say that britain should go back is aid. i believe in the moral argument for aid. that we have obligations to the poorest in our world, but i also believe that it is in our national interest. isn't it better to help stop countries disintegrating, rather than in dealing with the consequences for our own country, immigration, asylum, terrorism? aid can help us to avoid crises
before they exploit in to violence, requiring immense military spending. and the answer to the legitimate concern that too much aid money gets wasted. isn't a walk away. it's to change the way we do development. by 2015, u.k. aid will secure schooling for more children than we educate in the entire united kingdom, but at one 40th of the costs. we will help vaccinate more children against preventable diseases and there are people in the whole of england. that is the kind of eight i believe in, and what we will secure for the future. in europe, as the lord mayor said, these are times of great change your old assumptions are collapsing. it was said that no exit from the euro would ever be in the should. that membership of the e.u. would always lead to ever closer
union. that rules and structures were like a ratchet, always getting tighter. powers would only go one way, to the center. and now everything is changing. right now, fears about europe's economic future are understandably intense. think how the european union, as it is tonight, looks to those with growing economies watching from são paulo, from delhi or indeed from washington. not as it should be, a place to admire and emulate, not a source of alarm and crisis. now, britain is not some dispassionate observer. we are a member of the european union. the strength of our own economy is closely linked to the rest of europe. so we have a profound national interest in ensuring the swift resolution of the crisis in the euro zone and a return to growth. what was the european community,
now the e.u., has been an effective anchor for democracy and prosperity. it has helped transform eastern europe, build alliances, boost trade, not down old obstacles to freedom and success. today, to the outside world and to the citizens of its own countries, the e.u.'s achievements are dramatically overshadowed by its problems. it's not just the crisis in the euro zone, urgent and all consuming but that is. it's how out of touch of the e.u. has become when its institutions are demanding budget increases while europe's citizens to heighten their belts. it's the pointless interference, rules and regulations that stifle growth, not unleash it. the sense that the e.u. is somehow an abstract and in itself, immune from developments in the real world, rather than a means of helping to deliver
better living standards for the people of its nations. it does not have to be like this. out of crisis can come opportunity for the european union, if its member states are ready to grasp it. now is the chance to ask, what kind of europe do we actually want? for me, the answer is clear. one that is outward looking, with its eyes to the world not gazing in words. one with the flexibility of a network, not the rigidity of a block, whose institutions helped by connecting and strengthening its members to thrive in a vibrant world, rather than holding them back. one that understands and values national identity and seize the diversity of your its nations as a source of strength. i feel this very personally. the attitudes of my predecessors at this dinner, in previous decades, and we're very
understandably shaped by the events of 1945, and they need to secure peace on our continent. the experiences of the second world war gave birth to the european union we have today. but for me, 1989 is the key date, when europe tour down the iron curtain and came together as democratic nations working together across our continent. so what needs to change? of course, the immediate answer is growth. europe's arteries have hardened. as a continent we are slipping behind, growing less fast than the rest of the world. european countries have indulged in debt and overspending, and looked uncertain, or even worse, when confronted with the consequences. and let's all get a grip on growth the european union will remain an organization in peril representing a continent in trouble.
and now every member of the european union can see it. that is why britain's e.u. growth plan is focused, together with other allies, on promoting open markets, flexible economies and enterprises. and it's why we must continue to work with the european commission for the completion of the single market in services, the opening up of our energy markets, and the scrapping of the bureaucracy that make it so hard to starting a business. european countries account for 50% of our trade and much of our inward investment. leading the e.u. is not in our national interest. outside, we would end up like norway, subject to every rule of the single market made in brussels that unable to shape those rules. and believe me, if we were not in their helping write the rules they would be written without us, the biggest supporter of open markets and free trade, and we wouldn't like the outcome.
for too long, the european union has tried to make reality fit the institutions. but you can only succeed in the long run if the institutions fit with the reality. four years, people who suggested doing less at the european level have been accused of not being committed to a successful european union. but we skeptics have a vital point. we should look skeptically at grand plans and utopian visions. we have a right to ask what the european should and shouldn't do, and change it accordingly. as i've said, change brings opportunities. an opportunity to begin to refashion the e.u. summit better served this nation's interests, and the interests of its other 26 nations, too. and opportunity in britain's case of powers to above back instead of the flow away. and for the european union to focus on what really matters.
to underpin prosperity, stability and growth. this is the kind of fundamental reform i june 4. and i am determined to do everything possible to deliver it. finally, if we are to earn our living in the rest of the world, we also need to forge stronger relationships and countries like brazil, russia, india, china, turkey, nigeria and south africa. i have let trade missions to six of these countries, and the deputy prime ministers has also taken business delegations to brazil and other countries. now one former labor minister called this low-grade for capitalism. that comics have so much about what has gone wrong with our foreign policy in the past. we forgot old friends. we missed new opportunities and damage britain's interests as a result. i am proud, not embarrassed, to fill planes with businessmen and women and head off to visit the most vibrant market on the
planet. i'm not intending to reduce international relations simply to a commercial agenda. in dealing with other countries, their politics matter. but when the politics are troubling, the answer isn't to do with politics and put the trade on hold, we must be bold enough to try and do with politics and the trade at the same time. in september i was the first british prime minister to visit russia for five years. of course, there are things on which i think rush is in the wrong. the litvinenko case, magnitsky, khodorkovsky. we can't pretend these differences of human rights and the rule of law don't exist. they do. we should always be a champion of human rights, and we should address our differences candidly. but we should not allow them to divide and limit the whole relationship. it is in our interests and
russia's to offer british companies new opportunities to trade and to invest. it's in our interest and russia's to support russia joining the world trade organization and to develop our partnership in sectors like science and innovation. shared prosperity is one of the best ways to ensure shared security. i simply refuse to accept that we have to choose between politics and trade. i believe we can advance both. here we are in the city of london, the center of world trade and commerce from commodities the currencies. this is the place the planet looks to to raise capital, to float a business, to set the price of goods which will power the world economy. know what the market on earth can match the city of london for the range in scale up its act entities, a place that has always reached out to the world. this country has always been at its best and it projects its
influence. when it stands up for its values and defend its interests. open, outward looking, engaged. knowing that success at home can never be separated from what happens abroad. to get the best for britain we must always reached out to the world. and that is what this government will always do. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> the u.s. senate gavels in at 10 eastern this morning. after about an hour of speeches, centers alternative to judicial nominations with votes planned for noon eastern.
>> republican presidential candidate john huntsman discussed his jobs programs yesterday. we were showed a portion of this -- we will show you a portion of this. spent i want to dig deeper to the tax reform in your proposal. your plan is essentially endorsing one of the simpson-bowles commissions. they had an array of tax rate you choose from, and getting, you talk about have lower marginal tax rate but in order to find it you have it you have
to eliminate some of the tax expenditure. your plan is three brackets, 8%, 4% and 23% which is a substantial fee increase. i guess the problem is, the frustration is very frankly you have seen with these commissions, they come out, all come out with weasel plans that had to say them and then they kind of get chewed apart or kind of doubled on, each one of these tax expenditures, you get a lot of poker figures who say this is a great idea, but not the mortgage interest deduction, or not earned income tax credit, for example. even in simpson-bowles to get those low rates, in order to fund it, that would have to be funded by and elimination of earned income tax credit, child tax credit, full taxation of capital gains. i don't know which one of those mortgage interest deduction, are you dedicated to getting rid of all tax expenditures in order to get the marginal tax rate reduction or are we back into kind of picking and choosing?
unfortunately that's what the deal falls apart from a budget point of view. >> the simpson-bowles plan, in fact the work that was done by simpson-bowles i law. i think they did an excellent job. the president made a fundamental tactical error by throwing -- why? because it was done in a bipartisan fashion. maybe some of the numbers were a little off from where i would've put them, but on tax reform you have to assume that this has got to get through congress and that's what i say i look at what my colleagues are doing on the presidential campaign front. $9.99 does a start anyway because who in congress is going to want to see 9% uptick in state taxes. ronnie kind of medals around the edge. rick perry has the flat tax which we delivered to the people in utah. but it's an option. it sort of retains the current code. so direct gaming the system you continued to gain assist.
and i say all of that is nonsense. we either think big or we are either bold when our nation needs it most or you don't do it all. susa if you're going to take that step toward a bold proposal, you've got to at least pass the straight face test in terms of what can be done with congress. so it's not last out on day one. i will take some of that and looked at from a bipartisan standpoint, good bipartisan minds, they've analyzed it, something is there that is to like. second of all, you know, i would say if "the wall street journal" comes out, the most respected editorial page in economics in the country, maybe the world, and they say husband, that crazy guy, this economic proposal is the best of the bunch, i say there is an opportunity we have to bring together a necessary coalition, bipartisan coalition. because indiana that's how you have to get it done. to move this thing to congress but by going in position, i want
all loopholes, reductions done. sensitive to at some of them might be and politically as treacherous, it's an negotiation. you've got to get the work of the people done. you've got to start someplace, that's why i gripe about today's world. we are not doing the work of the people. we are often camped out finger-pointing and engaging in hypercharged partisan rightist it -- partisan rhetoric. you've got to do something that at least stand a chance but by going in position, loopholes, deductions, gone. that will be a negotiation at some point, and it will be a fierce negotiation, no doubt about it. but you got a position going into speaks to where you think you want to be. because india and you, you have to raise revenue to reinvested in the code such you can get in the rate down, so i would love, you know, in the exercise right where i put it on the table, which would be eight, 14 and 23% it doesn't have the side -- the sound of 9-9-9 i bet.
but it is doable and achievable. and it cleans out the cobwebs. and i think we need a cleaning up house. absolutely. >> let's take it at the beginning of negotiations which i think is the proper way to do it. these negotiations have started. it's where they finished frequently is the problem. maybe you can clarify, speak for the republican position on this. i think one of the challenges, very frequent, the republicans say we don't want to tax increase, but it's unclear what is meant by tax increase. some people so we don't want a tax rate increase. and others on the party suggest we don't want any tax revenue increase, which would suggest no elimination of tax expenditures are not enough to make up the partial tax rate deduction. in the negotiation how far he went to go if you will do this trade off, on some of these marginal tax rates, and and maybe not be able, are these tax expenditures be added back in,
you have to increase your rate. on net are you looking for neutrality, religion for increasing tax revenue, tax reform? is it a diehard position one way or another or is it something we negotiate and cover by? >> certain principles. we can do it on a revenue neutral basis. that would be one of the principles i would go by. second of all i'm going to raise revenues that are -- both on the individual income side and on the corporate side by facing out corporate welfare. we can't afford it anymore. and i think it comes up and distorts this isn't such we just need to get smart about the 21st century. phase out subsidies, and i within -- for some, going that far is too far. but that would be one of the principles by which i would guide tax reform. reinvested back into the code and allow that to lower the rate and take it forward in that sense. but i would also use a
bipartisan coalition, but when together to help drive at home such as we saw around the simpson-bowles commission. i would use the business community to help make the arguments about what this means to job creation. because i think in the end, if you can make a valid argument about what tax reform means to read firing our engines come growth and job creation, that aren't that will carry the day because to prime the pump we need jobs and we need to expand our economic base, we need to pay bills, we need to provide more opportunity. so that's the thing that must prevail throughout. we are doing this because we haven't touched taxes since 1986. we are doing this because our leading competitor countries, many of which i've lived in before, they have cut, they have dealt with taxes, dealt with marketing measure, trade liberalization. we haven't. we have to act or we will see the end of the american century
by 2050 and that's a price too high for anybody to be paying. >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in. go spend the first hour on general speeches before considering to judicial nominations at about 11 each and. these are nominations for alaska and california. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. your power, give your light to each of our senators. illuminate their paths with your wisdom that they may embrace your precepts and seek your truth. may the light of your truth guide them as they seek to solve the complex problems of our time. lord, help them to see the things they ought to do and give them the courage to act.
show them where to go, how they should decide, and which pitfalls they should avoid. guided by your light, lead them to your desired destination, as they find joy in both serving and loving you. we pray in your strong name, amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: the republican leader and i will make a few remarks today. after that, the majority will control the first half, the republicans the final half of one hour. following moshings the senate will be in executive session to consider the gleason and rogers nominations. at this stage, we have two scheduled votes. we're going to work with the managers of the bill, senators leahy and grassley, and see if we need that second vote, and
that decision will be made later this morning. at about 12:00 there will be, as i indicated, up to two roll call votes on confirmation of these two nominations. following that vote, the senate will recess until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. at 2:15 we'll resume consideration of the energy and water appropriations bill. as i indicated yesterday, madam president, we have a lot to do. thanksgiving is the week after tomorrow, and we have lots of things we have to complete. we're going to -- i gave my word that we're going to do the defense authorization bill. i'm going to -- there's -- it hasn't been worked out to the satisfaction of everyone, but there comes a time when we have to stop negotiating and move to the legislation. and we're going to do that. following our finishing the next minibus we have.
it would be wonderful if we could complete that quickly. as i indicated yesterday, i'm not going to fill the ledgive tree on this, but i don't know how much time we're going to be able to spend on this with never-ending amendments. what i'd like to do is what we've done in the past is have people offer amendments, but we have to have some kind of a limit that will be self-imposed that will have maybe ten stacked amendments and figure out some way to dispose of those before we move to another batch of amendments. anyway we'll work our way through that. there are staffs -- mr. cha -- e the c.r. that we have to do. we have the first minibus, the conference completed on that. we'll finish that this work period. so there's lots to do and because when we come back after thanks give we only have --
thanksgiving, we only have three or four weeks before christmas. so as i said yesterday, i think that it looks like we are going to be able to finish our work here at a reasonable time this week. i hope we don't have to work this weekend. i hope we don't have to work next week. i don't think so we'll have to do that. but everyone should be prepared in case we have to do because we have some thanks that have to be done, like the c.r. when we come back after the thanksgiving recess, i tell everyone now that we're not going to do our normal short weeks here. so people can -- people are going to have to spend less time at home because the workload after thanksgiving is really, really -- we have lots to do. these are things that, again, -- expiring tax provisions that we have to work on. if we're for the narcotic if the super-- if we're -- we have to
be prepared after things giving to just be here until we're ready to leave for christmas. madam president, it is possible to -- it is not possible to open a newspaper without hearing my republican colleagues talk about the evils of job-killing regulations -- that's in quotes. each day they arrive on the senate floor to rail against the safeguards that keep our water clean, our air fresh and our minds. the g.o.pthese terrible, horrib, time-consuming government regulations that hinder the economic progress of america. the republicans would have you believe that these commonsense rules that check the greed of huge wall street banks are also causing small businesses great harm. indeed, that would be a terrible thing if it were true. and it isn't. while it is proper to guard
against and remove onerous regulations, my republican friends have dwroat bring a single shred of evidence that the regulations they hate so much do what they claim. there is plenif i of evidence to show they ensure mom and pop ensure a fair fight against the multinational corporations and moneyed interest groups. there's plenty to prove that disasters like the b.p. oil spill could have been prevented by better, stronger watchdog regulations. but republicans aren't relying on evidence, as they propagate the myth of the job-killing regulation. they're relying on repetition. there are many people, but let's just take one. bruce bartlett, treasury secretary under president george
h.w. bush. i had many to choose from about i chose this twown talk about a little bit today. he offered a number of strong words on the regulation monster under big business. and i quote. "no hard evidence is offered for this claim. it is simply asserted as self-evident and rated entsdzlessly through -- endlessly throughout the echo chamber. in my opinion as a conservative economist, regulatory uncertainty is invented by republicans that allows them to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. in other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, not a serious effort to deal with high unemployment." listen to what he said again. this is worth repeating. "no hard evidence is offered for this claim. it is simply asserted as self-evidented and repeated endlesslessly throughout the conservative echo chamber.
in my opinion, regulatory uncertainty is an invention by republicans that allows them to use current economic problem to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. in other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, into the serious effort to deal with high unemployment." but why use regulations proven to protect the health of every mom, dad, man, woman, child in this nation as a scapegoat? what are the origins of this myth? i believe, as bartlett does, the republicans are attacking regulation because they don't have plan to create jobs around turn our -- sand turn our economy around. while democrats have been pushing time-tested remedies for our economy such as infrastructure investments and middle-class tax cuts, the republicans colleagues have been peddle ago cure-all tonic of deregulation. part let says, "people are increasingly concerned about unemployment but republicans have nothing to offer them."
they've offered up distract from the fact that they haven't offered a single idea for how to put america back to work. they use the argument to justify rolling back everything from clair to health insurance and industrial farms. we voted on a number of those last week. what's more they've spread the tail tale that we're letting big business do what if pleases will create new jobs. bartlett called that logically "nonsense. qulings "it's just made up, he said. let's talk fact, not fiction. according to the bureau of labor statistics which asks executives why they downsize, only a tiny, tiny fraction of layoffs have anything to do with tighter regulation. last year only .3% of people who lost their jobs were let go principally because of government regulations or government intervention. on the other hand, 25% of them
were laid off because no business, lack of business. in a recent survey by the small business majority, only 13% of small businesses cited regulation as their biggest concern. half said economic uncertainty was the greatest challenge they have. that's why democrats have been offering real solutions to our job crisis, policies that help them -- help small firms, hire, grow, and thrive again. the truth is we have enough to worry about in these tough economic times. we can't allow the myth to distract us from the real crisis of high unemployment facing this great nation. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: madam president, over the past few weeks i've highlighted some of
the good work republicans in the house are doing in identifying jobs legislation that members of both parties can agree on. and i've suggested that the democratic majority here in the senate follow the lead of house republicans, take up bipartisan legislation -- it's already passed in the house -- pass it here in the senate. the american people want us to do something about jobs. they want us to work together. here is the formula. let's apply it. we made some progress last week with the veterans bill anltdz the 3% withholding bill. but there's a lot more we could do. the house has now passed more than 20 pieces of jobs legislation, many of which have companion bills that are ready to go here in the senate. i outlined some of them last week. why don't we take them up. let's acknowledge the fact that we live in a two-party system and that if we're going to make progress we need to do it on a bipartisan basis. and that means doing precisely
what preens in the house have been doing for the past year: finding areas where the two parties can actually agree and passing bills that reflect those areas of agreement. that's how legislation works. it's easy to push partisan legislation and then complain when it doesn't go anywhere that the other party is intransigent. the more difficult job and the one we were sent here to do is to work together to find solutions to accomplish more than fodder for campaign ads and public diewrs tours. so this morning i'd like to call on our democratic friends to take up these bipartisan house-passed bills. one of these bills, for example, makes it easier for business to raise the capital theend to expand and to create jobs. senators tester and toomey have companion legislation right here in the senate. another one increases the number of shareholders that are allowed
to invest in a community bank before that bank is required to shoulder costly new burdens from the s.e.c. senators hutchison and pryor have companion legislation to this bill here in the senate. senators toomey and carper have a bill that would expand it by applying it to businesses other than banks. let's take them both up and let's pass them. two other bipartisan house-passed bills give small businesses a new avenue to raise capital and small investors a new opportunity to invest in them. by allowing small businesses to raise money over the internet and through social media without having to shoulder the same kind of regulatory obstacles as big businesses. we all know that access to capital is one of the key ingredients to economic growth. here's a way to make it easier for folks to get the capital that also creates new avenues for the little guy to invest and to start hiring. senators thune and scott brown have companion bills here in the
senate. why don't we take them up and pass them? this is the kind of approach we should be taking here in the senate. putting aside these great, big partisan bills that democrats know have bipartisan opposition and focusing on smaller proposals that can actually pass. on their own, these bills won't solve the jobs crisis. frankly, no piece of legislation can, large or small. but they'll help, and they'll make it easier for businesss to start hiring. and they'll show the american people something many of them believe we don't do enough of around here, and that's to work together on their behalf. this is how divided government works. through real cooperation and a search for common ground and solutions. this is what republicans on the joint committee have been trying to do for the past several weeks. it's what house republicans have been doing all year. so i say let's take these bills up and pass them and send them on down to the president for signature. the administration supports many
of these house-passed bills. democrats in the house strongly support many of them. and republicans support them overwhelmingly. so let's do it. let's build on the pheplt upl we have from -- momentum we have from last week after passing the 3% withholding and veterans bill and show the american people we've hit upon a formula for legislative success around here. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:00 a.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the majority controlling the first half and the republicans controlling the final half. ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: good morning, madam president. madam president, is i wish tpo address one of the most -- i wish to address one of the most
important issues facing the super committee, and that is where does social security fit into their plans. madam president, you know, because you're very close to the people of new hampshire, you know all over your great state and mine in maryland, people are getting ready for thanksgiving. and as they get ready for their plans, they, first of all, give gratitude for living in the united states of america, the land of the free and the brave. but they are also wondering what kind of country are we living in right now, because you and i know they're worried about paying their bills. as they get ready for their holiday dinner and the family gathering and all the wonderful traditions that go into this very special holiday, they're saying where are we? have we lost our way? are we so mired in partisanship that we can't seem to find a path forward? they think we are the turkeys.
they want us to stuff it. they want us to get on and start worrying about the table, worry about their kitchen table and bring everybody to the table here and begin to solve national problems and to do it in a way that brings the country together. and what they want us to do while maybe at the kitchen table the children will argue over who gets the wish bone, they want us to have backbone to make the tough decisions that these times call for, but not to be tough on one another. and so, madam president, as i think about this, i think about social security. now, we say everything should be on the table. well, i think everybody should be on the table that caused our deficit. i think everybody should be on the table that caused our debt. social security did not cause
our deficit. social security did not cause our debt. now, do we need to take a look at social security to ensure its safety and solvency for the rest of this century, or certainly well beyond 2050 or 2070? absolutely. but i say this, that while the super committee is charged with looking at a more frugal government, we must maintain the social contract. the social contract in the united states of america is the contract that the united states government made with its people, and it said if you go by the rules and you paid your dues, a la the payroll tax, there will be a benefit for you. it will be a defined benefit. it's called social security.
and it will be undeniable. it would be reliable. and it would be inflation-proof. now, every president has agreed that there is a social contract. and every president has taken a look at how to provide those. some we've agreed with. some we've disagreed with. where we agreed was that great, wonderful way we worked in the 1980's when social security was facing challenges, and president reagan reached out to tip o'neill, bob dole, bob byrd, howard baker. and we made social security solvent for 30 or 40 years. we did the same under president bill clinton. president george bush, number two bush -- w. -- wanted to privatize social security.
we stopped that. we don't believe in the privatization of social security. we didn't want to turn social over to wall street. we thought wall street got enough. they didn't have to get social security. and we didn't want if you were old or you were sick to rely on the political promises or the bear of a market. social security affects so many people. there are 15 million americans who rely on social security. retired workers, their spouses, people with disabilities. for two-thirds of the people on social security, which their benefit is between $1,400 and $1,500 a month, it makes up almost all or half of their income. in my own state, 500,000 retired workers are on social security. so protecting the social contract is absolutely in our national interest. so what brings me to the fore
today? two things. number one, i don't think social security should be in the debate about how to reduce our debt or our deficit. i do think social security should be discussed in a rational, calm, nonpartisan way to ensure safety and solvency and reliability. the other thing that brings me to the floor is how do we put our arms around the cost-of-living problem? it is indeed vexing. it is vexing. how do we meet the needs of the people but not exacerbate the drawdown in the trust fund? valid conversations. wise people should talk about it. one thing that i am opposed to is something called the chained c.p.i. isn't that a terrible word? chained c.p.i. in our country, the very word "chains" has such a negative, negative connotation.
and what i worry about is that its draconian effect will have a chain reaction on seniors that will cause a tremendous crash. i'm concerned that we're about to shred the social contract. now let me tell you what the chained c.p.i. is. it would actually cut social security by over $100 billion over the next ten years. it does it by changing the cost of living as calculated. it's based on a theory. it's based on social engineering, some kind of abtract concepts about human behavior, that invisible hand that adam smith talks about. i worry that this invisible hand will actually pen social security. it seems consumers will substitute lower-cost items than what they normally purchase. if apples increase, they'll
switch to -- if the price of apples increases, you'll go buy oranges. well, i'm afraid that what we're doing is we're going to buy limits. so the social -- the chain c.p.i. is inappropriate because actually seniors have a fixed market basket. they not only have a fixed income but they have a fixed market basket. their primary expenditure is health care. health care, over which they have little control. and the cost of health care continues to rise. the next one is energy, food, and then housing. this isn't like changing casinos, this isn't like giving up opera tickets for movie tickets. it's not like giving up a latte for dunkin' donuts. for them it's not giving up whole foods. it's giving up no food.
so we've got to get real about the market basket of seniors. so i want to just make three points about the myth. one, the chained c.p.i. is not a technical fix. despite popular notions, op-eds, editorial boards, it is not just a technical correcting. it will actually fundamentally restructure social security, and it could very well have a chain reaction pushing old people into poverty. under the way the c.p.i. is calculated, if you're now getting $15,000 a year when you're 65, when you're 75, you'll have $500 less. and if you live to 8 5, it will be reduced by $1,000. i have this in this chart here. the numbers that i'm giving you does not come from barb mikulski. it doesn't come from some wonky
lefty think tank. this is coming from the social security actuary. the social security actuary, the keeper of the books and the projections for social security. for a single woman on social security under the chained c.p.i., from the time she's 65 to the time she's 80, she could lose as much as $6,000. in other words, the older you get, the worst that it will get. remember, under chained c.p.i., the older you get, the less you will get. the older you get, the worse that it will get. there's a myth number two, that this is not an immediate cut. oh, it's going to go into future beneficiaries. oh, it's a long way off. well, whoever it hits, it hits hard. remember that chain reaction. but it's a myth. according to the social security actuary, the chained c.p.i. would affect everyone. and if we pass it as part of the
super committee, it will go into effect december 2012. it will go into effect immediately december 2012. that's a pretty big deal. the third myth is this change would mirror people's behavior. but it doesn't take into account health care costs, the cost of prescription drugs, copays and premiums. remember one way or the other we're going to change medicare. so what i want to do at this time is sound the alert. i want to ring the bell. i'm at my battle station. i'm at my duty station. i want every united states senator when they vote on this to have informed consent. i want people to read about it and know about it, and make up their own minds. i oppose the chained c.p.i. i oppose social security being in the super committee. i'm not drawing the line in the sand here today. i want to say to the super
kph-s, god bless -- super committee, god bless them and their work. they're pursuing this in a duly diligent way, and we hope we can come to a great resolution where we can reduce our debt, reduce our deficit and do it in a way that is a balanced approach. but don't balance all this on the backs of senior citizens. you know, f.d.r. signed this bill 75 years ago. every president, regardless of party, said we will keep this social contract. if you go by the rules, pay your dues through the payroll tax, social security is going to be there for you. now, we want social security to be there for the seniors, and we need to be there for the social security program. madam president, i yield the floor, and i hope my colleagues put due diligence into understanding this policy. i yield the floor.
mr. coburn: i wonder if we're in a quorum call. the presiding officer: we are. burn bindemr. coburn: burn i'd a it be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: it is my understanding i have until 11:00? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mr. coburn: our country is at a crossroads, as anybody who's watching europe, what they will find is they have been very slow to address the real underlying problems of debt and deficits there, and they have a much more difficult time than what we should because w they have a monetary union but without a
political union. we have a monetary and a political union. the fact is over the next ten years we're going to have debt, including borrowing money for student loans, including borrowing money to pay back social security, what has been stolen, we're going to have a true debt of about $27 trillion, $28 trillion. absolutely unsustain afpblt as a matter of fact, it won't happen, according to ben bernanke, because his statement is the world won't loan us the money. what is going on in europe today? what is going on in europe today is the markets are punishing the countries who have excessive debt to g.d.p. ratios. we said at 100% debt to g.d.p. and if you see what's happened just in the last two weeks to
bond rates for italy and the differential between an italian bond rate and german bond rate is 4.3% differential for the same link security bond for italy versus germany. what's the difference? germany's living within the confines of their economic capability. italy didn't. how does that apply to us? it applies to us, is that we're not. and what will happen to us if we don't make the difficult changes that are necessary. there's been a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the aisle. there has been rhetoric from the president in terms of us looking at who pays what in terms of taxes in this country. but nobody's looking at what we're doing with our tax code that enables those, the wealthy
in this country to pay less taxes. so i had my staff put together a list of the subsidies for the wealthy in this country, because the answer isn't just to raise taxes. part of the answer is to quit subsidizing these behaviors. so what we did is we came up with a piece that we put out yesterday called the subsidies for the rich and famous. it's a report, we looked at every government program. we looked at everything that we do. and what we found out is every year to people having adjusted gross incomes above $1 million, we give $28 billion worth of benefits in the tax code or through our program. and i would tell you that if we really wanted -- i'm one of those that thinks we ought to reform our tax codes, that we
ought to lower the rates, that we ought to make it where it actually increases productivity in this country, creates capital investment. but one of the first steps in doing that is to make sure our tax code and our safety net programs are for those that truly need it, not for those that don't. and so we went through the total tax breaks, $113.7 billion over the last four years, mortgage interest, $27.7 billion in tax breaks to people who are making more than $1 million a year. that's a lot of dough. rental expenses, the write h-f h-f -- write-off of rental expenses for those making more -- we're not talking businesses. none of these are business deductions. these are personal deductions for the very wealthy in this country that are making more than $1 million adjusted gross income a year, we allow them to
write off $64.3 billion. gambling losses, we allowed the rich and famous to reduce their taxes by $21 billion because we allow them to gamble. then if they lose money, they get to write it off. so we're subsidizing the loss. we're subsidizing their gambling losses. canceled debt, debt write-offs, debt forgiveness, we've allowed $128 billion in terms of write-offs tpwor those people making -- for those people making more than $1 million adjusted gross income. business entertainment, this is not through business, not run through business. this is personal deductions for business entertainment, $607 billion. electric vehicle. what are we seeing? who are the people taking advantage of our messing in the economy and creating an
incentive for somebody to buy an electric vehicle? the vast majority are the very wealthy who don't need the write-off. what we had is $12.5 million last year alone in tax credits for the very wealthy to take a $7,500 or $8,500 tax credit for buying an electric car. child care, nanny car for the very wealthy last year, $18 million. renewable energy tax credits for the very wealthy, $75.6 million. the whole point for putting this report out is we're schizophrenic with our tax code. we've got it upside down. and when people talk about they are wanting the millionaires to pay more, they're paying plenty. the top 1% pays 38%. the top 20% pays 80% of all the taxes in this country. but if you really want to start
getting at this, wait you get at it is start taking away the things that reduce their tax burden that don't make sense, that aren't smart, and that don't help those that need the true safety net in our country. these people aren't dependent on these. they'll do just fine without it. and the whole purpose for most of these programs was to create and sustain a safety net for those that are less fortunate. so when we take $113.7 billion in tax cuts, in tax breaks for the wealthy over four years, what could we do with that other money? you could run a nasa that's twice as big. you could not borrow $113 billion because their interest rates on that are significant, another $4 billion or $5 billion a year in interest that we wouldn't have to borrow. we wouldn't have to make some
defense cuts that are going to have to come. we could maybe put more money in to medicare prevention and disease prevention rather than what we've done. there's all sorts of things we could do. so the point behind the report is most americans don't realize how we're subsidizing through tax credits the very wealthy in this country. i don't have any real problem with them taking the tax credits. we put it out there. the real question we ought to be asking is why are we doing all this in the first place? does the economy itself and a free market not really allocate resources better than what we can do? how many chevy volts have been sold this year? 5,000. all right, 5,000 times $7,500, that's what we paid in tax credits to have the chevy volt sold because everybody got a $7,500 tax credit that bought it. if it's a viable product, let people buy it.
if it's not a viable product, they won't. yet, who were the people who bought most of the investigative have i volts? -- most of the chevy volts? people making significantly more than the average tax code. if we're going to play on the tax code, we ought to play on a level field. if we want to create incentives, we ought to create incentives that actually will do something for the economy rather than just benefit those that make the most money in the economy. so i would say what this spells is a case for us totally reforming our tax code. most people don't realize that this is one of the side effects. this is not to say there aren't some good side effects. but the fact is when we're running $1.3 trillion deficits, do we really want to be subsidizing the rich and famous in this country with our programs? and i would tell you no. you know, when it comes to medicare part-b, when medicare part-b started, 50% of the cost
of medicare part-b was to be borne by the medicare recipient. we're at 25% now. there was never any thought -- remember, nobody ever paid anything for that. in other words, that's all borrowed money to do that. nobody ever contributed into a part-b fund. they contributed into a part-a fund which by the way will be bankrupt in four and a half years. what about those on part-d? nobody ever paid a penny and we have $13 trillion in unfunded liability on part-d. why should the very wealthy get subsidized drugs in this country? why should they get subsidized part-d? in other words, we ought to ask ourselves a question. think about social security. why is canada's social security system not in trouble? because canada looks at how much income you're making every year, and at certain levels you get half of your social security because you obviously don't need it because your income is up there. and at a certain other level you
get none of it. why? it's based on a means testing mechanism that says this program is designed to be an underpinning for those that need t. yet we've gone completely the other way. my point in making this is we have all this discussion on what we're supposed to do. we're wringing our hands. the first thing to do is fix the tax code. the best way to fix it is call it, three months from now it's going away and have the finance ways and means committee in the house come together with a new tax code that fixes all that stuff. everybody in washington says that can't be done. nobody outside of washington says it can't be done, but we say it can't be done. it can be done. it needs to be done. if we want a healthy future, we need to reform our tax tkoed generate -- code to generate greater investment, we need to lower the rates and need to eliminate things such as these that don't truly help the economy but help those who are
smart enough to figure out how to play the game who are the wealthiest in this country. i'm proud of them. i want them to be more successful. but in this time of difficult times, we need to ask them to contribute more. we need to not have these kind of programs in our tax code that actually subsidize those that need no subsidy. with that, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: alaska.
the presiding officer: without objection, morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, the judiciary -- sharon l. gleason of alaska to be united states district judge; yvonne gonzalez rogers of california to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: under the previous order you there will be one hour for debate, equally divided in the usual form. the senator from alaska. mr. begich: madam president, i'm glad the senate will confirm two more highly experienced federal judges this morning. i'd like to take a moment to speak in support of the nomination of one of alaska's finest state judges to the federal bench. today the senate will vote to confirm the nomination of sharon gleason to be the judge for the u.s. district court for the district of alaska. i know sharon quite well, and i recommended her to the president for this opening. i can say without hesitation
that she is one of alaska's finest. she is smart, she's compassionate, well-rounded and possesses an ample supply of common sense. alaska's judicial candidates are rated by their peers and judge gleason consistently receives among the highest marks possible. for these reasons and many others, i hope all my senate colleagues will join me in supporting her nomination. her confirmation will make judge gleason the first female judge appointed to the federal bench in alaska history. that is truly a momentous point for our state and long overdue. i know many alaskans back home and four hours earlier are watching these floor proceedings today because of the significance of this appointment. slairn was appointed to the -- sharon was appointed to the anchorage superior supreme court in 2001 by governor tony
knowles, who was my bhos he served as mayor of anchorage. on the superior court judge gleason has -- child and criminal cases. judge gleason now serves as the presiding judge of the third judicial district of alaska. that position is responsible for overseeing 70% of the caseload of the entire state, trial courts, and includes 40 judges and 20 magistrates. her record ras a judge has been excellent. she is widely praised for her judicial temperament, for fairness on the bench, and especially her pioneering work on behalf of families and children. for that work she was awarded the prestigious light of hope award in alaska. sharon is an active member of her community, serving on
numerous legal committees. she also is a heck of a clarinet player and has been playing in the anchorage symphony orchestra for more than 25 years. judge gleason received the unanimous bipartisan support of every member of the senate judiciary committee. the american bar association has rated her unanimously "well-qualified." their highest possible rating for a federal judge. if confirmed, judge gleason will follow a long line of excellent federal judges in alaska. she will replace retiring judge jack sedwick, who has served our state for nearly a decade on the federal bench. madam president, judge sharon gleason is one of my state's finest legal minds, and i'm confident she will continue to fairly and effectively serve alaskans from the federal bench. i urge all my colleagues to support her nomination to the u.s. district court.
ms. murkowski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: i ask proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that my intern sarah boger be allowed privileges of the floor throughout the consideration of the debate on sharon gleason, the nomination of sharon gleason. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, madam president. this is a big day for us in alaska in kwrarbg's legal his --
in alaska's legal history. the senate is considering the nomination of sharon gleason. sharon is the first woman to be nominated for united states district court judge in alaska. she is an outstanding nominee and i regard it as a privilege to speak in support of her nomination today. sharon gleason is a native of rochester, new york. she earned her bachelor's degree from washington university in st. louis. she received her law degree from the university of california-davis. upon graduation from davis, sharon was elected to the order of the coif, which is the national legal honor society, and then following her graduation, she clerked for edmund burke, who was the chief justice of the alaska supreme court. this was the beginning of an exceptional legal career in the state of alaska for sharon gleason. after 17 years in private
practice, sharon was selected to serve on the alaska superior court for the third judicial district in anchorage. she came to the bench in 2001. and in 2009 sharon was elevated to the role of presiding judge for the third judicial district. this is the judicial district that is the busiest of our four judicial districts in the state of alaska. i think it's important to take just a moment here, mr. president, to explain how the process works in the state of alaska for appointment as a judge. sharon was selected again to serve on the superior court. all applicants for state judicial positions are vetted by the alaska judicial council. this is a commission that is composed of attorneys and of public members and then the top
candidates are recommended to the governor for consideration and ultimate appointment. that merit process was created by our constitution, by the alaska constitution, and it was intended to keep the politics out of the judicial selection process and is a process that many of us in the state of alaska are really quite proud of. we think it is a very effective process and works well. every candidate is formally evaluated on issues like integrity, professional competence, fairness, judicial temperament, and suitability of experience. as a member of the alaska bar, i get the bar survey polls to evaluate the individuals as their names go forward. and you look through the categories to rate each
applicant. i think if you were to ask any alaskan tern about the rig -- attorney about the i.g.ar of this process, i think you would get the same against: that it is a very effective process. the grade something tough and those who are not you have to the challenge do not slip through any crafnling cracks. the governor may only appoint a candidate that has been recommended by the alaska judicial council and then once selected a superior court judge must stand for periodic retention elections. the alaska judicial council reevaluates each judge standing for retention and then makes a recommendation to the voting public on whether or not that judge should be retained. once again, the process is really quite rigorous. the judicial counse council surs attorneys, court employees, social workers, guardians ad litem and court-appointed speck
advocates. the scores are made public so it is a very open process. it involves many, many within the alaska legal community and is really quite transparent. sharon gleason last stood for retention last year in 2010, and she scored high on measures of legal ability, impartiality, integrity, temperament, and diligence. in her 2010 retention questionnaire, judge gleason stated about her job -- a and this is a quote from her -- "the workload is particularly demanding, involving many long days and weekends, but i continue to love going to work just about every day. i strive to be the best judicial officer that i can be in every case that comes before me." those were the words of judge gleason. i think that that is an excellent outlook, mr. president, for a member of
our judiciary and alaskans clearly agreed. the alaska judicial council recommended her retension and she was retained with nearly 61% of the vote. as a product of the alaska court system, sharon gleason has functioned with great distinction in a merit-based, nonpartisan, and nonpolitical environment. in advance of the vote that we will hold in just about a half an hour here, i took the opportunity to survey some judges who either work with sharon in alaska or who have had the opportunity to work with her. one of them reported that judge gleason has presided over complex technical cases that lasted several weeks and required her to pour over thousands of pages of exhibits and transcripts. she is also presided over child custody cases making sure that
she understands the needs of each child and how to assist or require the parents to raise their children appropriately. she is at work late each night and at least one full week -- weekend day every week. she insists upon litigants being respectful of one another in litigation and during hearings. she spends many hours evaluating herself to ensure that she is not only meeting her own standards about being fair to all sides but also behaves in a manner that lead the parties to know that she is being fair. she takes great pains to articulate to parties how she will run a hearing and why she is ruling as she does. she has tremendous control of her own demeanor so that she maintains control of proceedings. and, as a result, parties almost universally leave a hearing or a case feeling that she has understood them and thoughtfully
-- thought carefully about her decision. she acts with an appreciation that for the litigants that are before her, the case that she has is the most important thing in their lives at the time. she is, and i believe will continue to be, a superb judge. another judge said sharon's skills as a capable trial court judge and an excellent presiding judge are well-known to alaskans. she will be missed by her completion in the state court, but she will make a fantastic addition to the federal district court. mr. president, the american bar association has evaluated judge gleason as being well-qualified for elevation to the u.s. district court. i think that she will make an exemplary u.s. district court judge. i'm proud to support this nomination and would encourage my colleagues to do the same.
mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, today the senate's going to finally consider two of president obama's highly qualified nominees to fill federal district court vacancies in alaska and the northern district of california. they were unanimously voted out by the judiciary committee two
months ago. i'm sorry it's taken so long because of objections on the other side. but i'm glad that now they will be considered. i'd ask consent that my full statement be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, i want to talk a few moments about the positive impact next year's transportation h.u.d. appropriations bill is going to have on my home state of vermont, particularly as we continue rebuilding from hurricane irene's destructive forces back in office -- back in august. i want to praise subcommittee chair patty murray and ranking member susan collins for their hard work and dedication ensuring the final bill filed last night both provides appropriate funding for disaster relief but also to move heavy truck traffic out of historic downtowns both in vermont and
maine. mr. president, as you and the others know, ever since hurricane irene, i've spoken over and over again on the floor of the senate but also in meeting after meeting of the appropriations committee and probably in hundreds of hours in discussion with both republican and democratic senators, especially on the appropriations committee, about the needs to vermont. irene was devastating to our small state of vermont. both my wife and i were born in vermont and never in our lifetime have we seen anything like what we saw. record rains, flash flooding, simply washed away homes and farms, businesses, roads and bridges all over the state, including some that have been there for 100 years. of all the body blows we suffered from irene, which raked
our state from border to border, repairing the damage to our roads, our bridges and our rail lines is one of our most urgent priorities especially in a state which has already had substantial snowfalls. the huge expense of mending our transportation network is well i don't want the ability of a small state like -- is well beyond the ability of a small state like ours. when we tallied up destruction, it became quickly very clear that vermont is going to need more federal help than the money that's now in the pipeline. the same can be said of other states ravaged by irene. with many federal aid disaster programs underfunded, i'm especially pleased that this bill contains $1,662,000,,000 to replenish the disaster relief fund. that is going to help vermont
rebuild our vital roadways and tkweupblgs. of course these -- roadways and bridges. these connections are crucial to rebuilding our economy, serving as a lifeline to small communities and working with governor shumlin and community leaders across vermont, it became clear right away that given the mammoth destruction of this storm, waivers were going to be needed to allow states that have these emergency funds without unnecessary burdens or delays. we made adjustments to these caps in the past after major natural disasters like hurricanes katrina and andrew, tornadoes in the south. i traveled around the state the day after the -- after irene. it was hard to believe it was such a beautiful day.
the sun was shining. it looked like a nice summer day, as you can imagine. as the governor and i and general doobey, head -ftd -- of the national guard traveled by helicopter, we would go along and see river running, everything peaceful. you'd go for a mile and discover the river is on the wrong side of the road and hundreds of yards of road has disappeared, and gaping holes of 50, 100, 150 feet deep. businesses, houses, barns in the river, destroyed. these are place that have not changed for 100 years, but then this. i remember saying to the governor, we'll get the aid. i was already getting e-mails from some of my colleagues, both
republicans and democrats here in the senate saying vermont always supported their states when they had disasters. they would support us. what the governor and i and everybody else realized, we had to have waivers in the final bill to do the things we needed. they're essential to ensuring that vermont can promptly begin work on emergency and permanent repairs sooner rather than later. it was the middle of november. they no longer make asphalt after around the middle of november. severe weather is around the corner. it will make it impossible to rebuild before march or april. when i proposed the waivers in this bill, i can't tell you how much i appreciated the fact that senators murray and collins
supported that, as did republicans and democrats alike on the appropriations bill. it may seem like a small thing, but to our little state, it is the difference between economic disaster and being able to rebuild. and i cannot thank senators enough for supporting me on these waivers. the bill also includes another high priority for vermont. moving heavy trucks off the state's secondary roads on to our interstate highways. overweight truck traffic in our villages and downtown poses a threat to the state's infrastructure. it's also a safety risk to both motorists and pedestrians. and the leahy calls for vision in this bill will stop overweight trucks from rumbling through our downtowns and small, narrow roads that come within a
few feet of schools, houses, businesses and town greens. it will help vermont businesses and communities struggling even more right now because of the large number of state and local roads already heavily damaged during the recent flooding. mr. president, when we first met in the appropriations committee and i first raised the needs of vermont, i have to admit that i got emotional in that appropriations meeting, as i did here on the floor. it's because i saw my fellow vermonters, some people i've known all my life, literally all my life, who drew from their deep reservoirs of resiliency and resolve in the wake of hurricane irene. people helping people they don't even know, but saying that's the way we do it in vermont.
people moving even before fema or anybody else came to help with the disaster, moving to make sure that people might need to get to a hospital, even if we had 0 carve a road -- even if we had to carve a road through the woods for them, it would be done. this is the vermont way. but i was moved to tears going through the state and seeing things that i remember as a child that had always been there and i assumed it would be there all my life, and destroyed in a matter of hours. the storms are going to enter the history books alongside the horrific floods of 1927 in our state, something i remember my grandparents and parents talking about. i remember my opinion grandparents and my parents saying we hope we never see something like this again. they didn't, but their son did. and i can't tell you how much it hurt. but i cannot tell you how much
it means to me that, again, senators joined and saying we will find the money vermont needs. back in 1927, the national government helped our states recovery, as they should. because, after all, we are the united states of america. american people come together in times like this, just as vermonters have always been among the helping hands extended to other states in their time of need. so the progress this bill makes in helping vermont and other states meet their urgent needs is a testament to the determination of many in this body. again, republicans and democrats have been willing to set aside ideological differences and partisan tensions to accomplish the work the american people expect from their government.
when i first proposed this increase in disaster aid not only for vermont but for every other state, i first proposed these waivers, i hoped that they would happen. none of us knew whether they would. i'm pleased now to see a bill where they have. it came about because senators from all over the country, from both political parties worked together. you know, i wish we had more of that in washington these days. i'd like to think this is a wonderful step forward, and we're all going to benefit from it. mr. president, i know that we are shortly to vote on the judicial nominations. i'd ask the chair how much time remains before that vote?
the presiding officer: 13 1/2 minutes remain before the vote. mr. leahy: mr. president, i'd notify other senators, i'm shortly going to suggest an absence of a quorum. i will then ask us to come out of the quorum at noon, and i will, unless i hear that somebody wishes to speak on either nomination, i will then move that time be yielded back. i will not do that until 12:00. i now suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: